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PUPILS’ HEALTH AT RISK AFTER EATING ROTTEN FOOD

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PIGG’S PEAK – The delay in delivering of food to schools is putting pupils’ health at a high risk of eating contaminated and rotten food.

Some of the food supplied to schools was delivered last year around September. Though some of the schools still have the food from last year, head teachers are complaining that the food had become rotten due to improper storage. “We need fresh food urgently,” they said. This is the concern which some of the head teachers raised but declined to comment on record for fear of victimisation. “We are still using the food we were given last year and some of it is not in good condition but what can we do?” asked a head teacher.

He said this was the situation in many schools in rural areas because unlike in urban areas, pupils there did not have breakfast at home. The head teachers said the food had already been stored in Matsapha for a long time before it was delivered to schools. “It was already in a bad state when we received it,” a head teacher from one of the local schools alleged. He wondered what caused the delay in delivering the food, adding that transport should not be a problem. The head teachers suggested that there were many private ‘for hire’ vehicles which could be used to deliver the food to schools, so that pupils could have some healthy meals.

They expressed concern that in some schools, the storage was very poor such that it was not right to keep the food for a long time. “Our storage is usually damp because of the poor construction of the structures, so the food is now contaminated but we are forced to use it,” said one of the head teachers.

Problem

He said the problem was mainly with the beans, as well as the mealie meal. Some of the schools are already contemplating asking for more money from parents for the purchasing of food.
“In these rural schools, it is impossible for us to teach without giving food to the pupils because for many, this is their only healthy meal,” said another head teacher. The head teacher even suggested that he was willing to fetch the food than to wait. Apart from the challenges related to the rotting food, schools were operating normally at Pigg’s Peak. Pupils were in class and teachers were also seen conducting lessons.

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